S v Nyamayevhu

High Court, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Judge Garainesu Mawadze

In this case of wife-murder, the accused had been in custody for six months as he was refused bail, the judge said. He added:

While in custody, the now-deceased’s relatives caused the accused’s relatives to surrender some of the accused’s assets as compensation. These included nine cattle, twelve goats, four bales of cotton, two tonnes of maize and R5 000. While this can never be compared to the loss of life we cannot close our eyes to the fact that accused has somehow atoned for his criminal conduct. 

It is worth noting that accused shall forever live with the stigma that he is responsible for the demise of his wife. Worse still, he will have to explain this also to the children he had with the now-deceased.

… It is aggravating that the assault was indiscriminate and brutal. The now-deceased was injured on the head, limbs and her cervical spine broken. Severe force was therefore exerted against this defenceless housewife. The accused’s degree of negligence is clearly very high. This elevates the accused’s moral blameworthiness. Despite the mitigatory factors alluded to, the accused deserves a fairly lengthy custodial sentence.

In the result, the accused is sentenced as follows;

“Ten years’ imprisonment of which two years’ imprisonment is suspended for five years on condition the accused does not within that period commit any offence involving the use of violence upon the person of another and for which the accused is sentenced to a term of imprisonment without the option of a fine.

The effective sentence is eight years’ imprisonment.”